I love it when you play with the form! The earliest examples I remember were in Pogo, where characters would lean against the side of the panel, or, once, Albert (IIRC) grabbed a speech balloon and blew it up, as you would a regular balloon, until it was huge, then walked around carrying it.Adam, do you remember an earlier example? One could argue that most of Krazy Kat was playing with the form, but that was not the same. It was done much earlier in cartoons. Koko the Clown, and, especially, Felix the Kat (the early, wonderful, pre-speech Felix) had great fun with the images of animation.
that PIP is soooo smart!
Thanks, anonymous! I think there are examples from Winsor McKay's Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, but I could be wrong. I do know that playing with the physicality of word balloons goes back a long way, even to some old Northern Renaissance paintings where scrolls with word are coming right out of figure's mouths.